GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is boldly going where nearly every independent inventor wishes he or she could go – to court with the United States Patent and Trademark Office over the Office’s new rules which take patent rights away from inventors. According to the complaint posted on Gene Quinn’s IPWatchdog, on October 9, 2007 GSK sued the United States Patent and Trademark Office for, among other things, issuing new rules which restrict an inventor’s ability to continue to prosecute a patent application as well as the number of patent claims an inventor is allowed to prosecute. GSK claims in their complaint that the PTO’s Final Rules’ restrictions on patent applications are Ultra Vires, which is legalese for “Who died and made you boss?”
In addition to arguing that the PTO does not possess the power to even make the new rules, GSK argues the Final Rules are vague, arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, not otherwise in accordance with law and that they smell vaguely of elderberries (I might be reading between the lines a little on that last one). GSK has asked the court to enjoin the PTO from enforcing the rules as well as for a writ of mandamus compelling the PTO to “perform neglected or unlawfully performed duties.” But how do they really feel?
In an effort to ease tensions, GSK Senior Vice President for Corporate Intellectual Property has asked for a sit down with the PTO’s General Counsel. Although GSK filed the case in the Eastern District of Virgina’s rocket docket, this case is likely to be resolved one way or the other well prior to even the E.D. VA’s lightening fast 8 months to trial. According to Gene Quinn, if the rules take effect and are later overturned by the court, the PTO “would have to spend years getting things straight.”
On behalf of inventors everywhere let’s hope this gets resolved prior to the Final Rules effective date of November 1st.